Saturday, March 01, 2014

Keisuke Serizawa: 1969 Calendar

This hand-printed calendar was produced by the Japanese katazome (stencil-dyeing) master Keisuke Serizawa, whose mark can be seen just below and to the left of the bird on the cover print (see following image). He produced calendars, with different designs each year, from 1946 until the mid-1980s; at least one associate and friend, Takeshi Nishijima, produced his own similar calendars during part of that period.

This particular production is relatively restrained. On most of the individual panels it is the numbered squares or circles, rather than the accompanying illustrations, that are the dominant design element; many of the spaces not needed for dates are filled with little vignettes.

For the August print below, Serizawa worked the letters of the name of the month into the first row of the calendar, but since he was one square short he combined the last two letters into one space.

November, I think, is my favorite. Notice that the "S" for Saturday is displaced to a line above the other days, again because there was no empty square available for it.

All of these pages were printed on handmade paper, so the originals are not as neat and square as the images shown here imply.

A variant of this calendar has the name of the Western Automobile Co., Ltd. (the Japanese affiliate of Mercedes-Benz) printed on each page; the image below is from an auction listing.

I am relying on George Baxley for identification on this calendar as the work of Keisuke Serizawa. There are relatively few English-language sources on the artist, with the fine exhibition catalog Serizawa: Master of Japanese Textile Design (Yale University Press, 2009) being the notable exception.

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